Vivian E. Strong, MD, FACS
Minimally Invasive Expertise; Stomach Cancer; Tumors of the Adrenal Gland, Splenectomy, Small Intestine, Distal Pancreas; Hernias
Contact and Location
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MD, Weill Cornell Medical College
General Surgery - New York Presbyterian/Cornell Medical Center
Advanced Laparoscopic Surgery - New York Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center
I am a board-certified surgeon with advanced training in minimally invasive techniques (laparoscopy and robotic surgery). I am dedicated to applying my technical expertise and clinical interests primarily to patients with stomach (gastric) cancer and adrenal tumors.
I am a member of Memorial Sloan Kettering’s Gastric Disease Management Team — a multidisciplinary team of surgeons, medical oncologists, pathologists, and other medical professionals who specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of gastric cancer. The combined expertise of our specialized team allows us to come up with the best plan for each patient.
In treating someone with stomach cancer, my goal is both to cure the patient of cancer and preserve his or her quality of life, both in the short and long term. I take all clinical data into account and select a surgical approach that has the greatest chance of accomplishing both goals.
In 2005, I introduced laparoscopic surgery as an option for patients with gastric cancer, and in 2009 I published the results of this approach in the Annals of Surgical Oncology. My research showed that the minimally invasive approach produces success rates comparable to those of traditional open surgery, with fewer complications, less blood loss and post-operative pain, and a shorter hospital stay. Laparoscopic surgery is an excellent approach for some, but not all, patients with the disease. I also developed a program in robotic gastrectomy in 2009, and apply this technique for selected patients. Results are promising and show decreased pain and quicker recovery for patients.
My research focuses not only on minimally invasive approaches and new technologies to better treat patients with gastric cancer, but also on molecular and genetic factors that may explain why some stomach cancers behave differently than others. I am particularly interested in differences in gastric cancer in the United States compared to Asian countries, and I am collaborating on an international level with gastric cancer surgeons in other countries to study this question. At Memorial Sloan Kettering, I am also working with pathologists and basic science researchers to study basic genetic factors that explain differences in certain types of gastric cancer, including questions relating to other gastric tumors, such as gastric gastrointestinal stromal tumors (GIST) and gastric carcinoids.
On a national and international level, I am a member of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) Esophageal and Gastric Advisory Group, which establishes the national guidelines for hospitals across the country regarding recommended standards to diagnose and treat gastric cancer. I have lectured at gastric cancer specialty meetings in Asia and Europe, including the International Gastric Cancer Congress (IGCC) Meeting in 2009, on novel research and minimally invasive surgery for this disease.
I also treat patients with adrenal tumors, and since 2005, I have overseen the adrenal database at Memorial Sloan Kettering, forming connections with endocrinologists, pathologists, and medical oncologists who share an interest in adrenal disorders. I have lectured internationally and published about laparoscopic adrenalectomy, which is the minimally invasive removal of tumors of the adrenal gland. I also treat patients with tumors that have metastasized from other primary sites to the adrenal gland, and have studied and published the collective experience of surgeons at Memorial Sloan Kettering to help better understand who is most suited for surgical removal of these tumors. I have also performed studies to define how patients with pheochromocytoma (a hormone-producing tumor of the adrenal gland) should be followed and how to determine if such tumors may recur.
Minimally invasive techniques may be appropriate for patients with cancerous and pre-cancerous disorders of the distal pancreas, spleen, and small intestine, and I have expertise in laparoscopic surgery for these problems as well.
I typically see new patients on Tuesdays at our 53rd Street location and operate on Mondays and Thursdays. I spend the remainder of my time conducting research, teaching, and lecturing. My contact information is listed below.
Working at a place like Memorial Sloan Kettering is a privilege and it is clear that the patients expect the very best from their physicians. It is gratifying to know you have helped a cancer patient through a part of their treatment and that you may have helped cure them. The hope is to allow people to return to normal life as soon as possible.
Accepted Insurance Providers
Dr. Strong accepts the following list of insurance providers. Select your insurance provider to see more details.
Memorial Sloan Kettering is an in-network provider with Aetna HMO, POS, and PPO plans. Aetna does not include us in any of the plans you can purchase through the insurance exchanges or through Medicare. Please ask your insurance if you need a one-time referral.
In New York State
Memorial Sloan Kettering is an in-network provider with Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield (Wellpoint) of New York HMO, EPO, PPO, and POS plans, with the following exceptions:
- Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield does not include us in any of the plans you can buy through the insurance exchanges.
- Memorial Sloan Kettering is not an in-network provider for Empire's Medicare Managed Care plan known as Mediblue).
- The Empire Indemnity Plan provides limited coverage for our services.
Memorial Sloan Kettering is a designated Center of Excellence by Blue Cross Blue Shield.
In New Jersey
Memorial Sloan Kettering is an in-network provider with some Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey plans for individuals, families, and small businesses. For example, the PPO plan is in-network with our Manhattan locations.
Horizon Blue Cross HMO is only in-network with our Basking Ridge, Bergen and Monmouth locations. It does not allow access to our Manhattan facilities.
Horizon Blue Cross PPO is in network with our Basking Ridge, Bergen, Monmouth and Manhattan locations.
OMNIA Plans: Tier I EPO based plan policy is only in-network with our Basking Ridge, Bergen and Monmouth locations and does not allow access to our Manhattan sites. Tier II EPO is only in-network with our Manhattan sites if it is a blue-card plan (there would be a suitcase logo indicating PPO on the front of the card).
Other plans may only be in-network at our Basking Ridge, Bergen or Monmouth locations.
Outside New York State and New Jersey
Some, but not all, Blue Cross Blue Shield plans outside of New York and New Jersey include Memorial Sloan Kettering as an in-network provider. Contact your insurance to find out if your plan provides in-network access to Memorial Sloan Kettering.
Memorial Sloan Kettering is an in-network provider with CIGNA's HMO, POS, and PPO plans. CIGNA does not include us in any of the plans you can buy through the insurance exchanges.
- If you are a New York State resident: Please ask your insurance if you need a one-time referral.
- If you live outside of New York State: Please ask your insurance if you have in-network access to Memorial Sloan Kettering.
Memorial Sloan Kettering is a designated Center of Excellence by Blue Cross Blue Shield.
Memorial Sloan Kettering is an in-network provider with EmblemHealth’s PPO, EPO, POS, and HMO plans as well as their Enhanced Care Prime Network, which supports Medicaid Managed Care and Child Health Plus and Medicare plans. Memorial Sloan Kettering is also in-network with the New York State Essential Emblem Health plan, which can be purchased on the insurance exchange. Emblem Health does not include us in any of its Medicare plans or in any of its Select Care network plans. You must bring a referral from your Emblem primary care doctor to your first appointment.
Formerly known as Health Plus Amerigroup, Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield Health Plus is an in-network provider with Memorial Sloan Kettering. You will need a one-time referral from your primary care doctor.
We understand that there may be many complexities involved with insurance coverage purchased through the health exchange network of the Affordable Care Act. We're here to help. If you have questions about how your care will be covered by an insurance provider, or need help navigating a change in coverage, please call us at 646-227-3378; if you are not a resident of New York, you can call us at 866-248-1274. Our team is here to listen to your concerns and assist you in any way we can. We want our care to be as accessible and affordable for as many people as possible.
Memorial Sloan Kettering is an in-network provider with HealthSmart’s Accel, HSPC, and HPO networks.
Memorial Sloan Kettering is a designated Center of Excellence by Humana.
Memorial Sloan Kettering is a designated Center of Excellence by Interlink Health Services.
Memorial Sloan Kettering is a designated Center of Excellence by Lifetrac.
Memorial Sloan Kettering is an in-network provider for all MagnaCare health plans except those products you can buy through the insurance exchanges.
Memorial Sloan Kettering is an in-network provider with Medicaid NY Emblem Health (formerly known as HIP) and Medicaid NY Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield HealthPlus (formerly known as Amerigroup). You will need a one-time referral from your primary care doctor.
Memorial Sloan Kettering is an in-network provider with some Multiplan/Beech Street/PHCS plans. Contact your insurance carrier to find out if your plan provides in-network access to Memorial Sloan Kettering.
Memorial Sloan Kettering is a designated Center of Excellence by Multiplan.
If you are covered by more than one insurance plan, you will want to determine your benefits from both plans. First, you need to determine which one is your primary insurance provider by contacting your employee benefits office or your insurance carriers. After you find out which is your primary insurance provider, you should then contact your insurance carrier to determine if you have access to Memorial Sloan Kettering.
Memorial Sloan Kettering is an in-network provider with some MVP plans. Contact your insurance carrier to find out if your plan provides in-network access to Memorial Sloan Kettering.
Memorial Sloan Kettering is an in-network provider for New York State employees who have enrolled in UnitedHealthcare's Cancer Resource Services. If you have the Empire Plan, you should call Cancer Resources Services at 866-936-6002 to verify and enroll in this coverage.
Memorial Sloan Kettering is in-network with Oscar's Circle Plus Network, a part of its Small Group Broad line that is offered only to select small business groups. Oscar does not include Memorial Sloan Kettering as an in-network provider for any of its individual plans. Please confirm eligibility with your insurance carrier.
We have agreements with several insurance companies that may provide additional coverage for cancer patients. These benefit programs include:
- AXA Assistance USA
- Beech Street
- Integrated Health Plans
- National Health Administrators
- National Preferred Provider Network
- UnitedHealthcare's Cancer Resource Services
- United Resource Network
- Veterans Choice Program
Memorial Sloan Kettering is an in-network provider with Oxford’s Freedom and Liberty plans as well as the Metro Plan (which is only offered to small business groups and no longer offered as individual plans). Please confirm with your insurance if you need a one-time referral. Note: Oxford's Medicare Managed Care plan — Secure Horizon — does not include Memorial Sloan Kettering as an in-network provider. Oxford does not include us in any of the plans you can buy through the insurance exchanges.
Memorial Sloan Kettering is an in-network provider with QualCare's PPO and HMO/POS network.
Memorial Sloan Kettering is a designated Center of Excellence by Specialty Care Management.
Memorial Sloan Kettering is an in-network provider with UnitedHealthCare's HMO, POS, and PPO plans. Please confirm with your insurance if a one-time referral is needed.
UnitedHealthCare's Medicare Managed Care plan does not include Memorial Sloan Kettering as an in-network provider.
United does not include us in any of the plans you can buy through the insurance exchanges.
Memorial Sloan Kettering is a designated Center of Excellence by UnitedHealthcare.
Memorial Sloan Kettering is an in-network provider with the World Trade Center Health Program.
Awards and Honors
- Castle Connolly: New York Magazine Top Doctors (2016-2018)
Doctors at Memorial Sloan Kettering work as teams, with specialists from all different areas. This allows us to consider all your needs together, and to give you the best possible care.
Clinical Trials Investigated by Dr. Strong
- A Phase II Study of the MatriStem Surgical Matrix to Reinforce the Esophagus in Patients Having Surgery for Gastric and Esophageal Cancer
Clinical Trials Co-Investigated by Dr. Strong
- A Phase III Study of Pembrolizumab Immunotherapy plus Chemotherapy versus Placebo plus Chemotherapy as Neoadjuvant/Adjuvant Treatment for Gastric and Gastroesophageal Junction Cancers
Find a Clinical Trial for You
Memorial Sloan Kettering's doctors and scientists are constantly developing new treatments for cancer. MSK is typically running hundreds of clinical trials at a given time.
You may be able to participate in a clinical trial even if you are new to MSK. Search our online directory to find trial information and see more about who can participate.
Research and Publications
“Lymphadenectomy for gastric cancer.” Strong VE. In: Master Techniques in Surgery: Gastric Surgery. Nussbaum MS, ed. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2012.
Publications on PubMed
Visit PubMed for a full listing of Dr. Strong’s journal articles. Pubmed is an online index of research papers and other articles from the US National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health.